Klout.com is a web site that attempts to measure how much influence any one person has achieved through social media. Some bloggers love it. Othera think it's snake oil.
But at least one scholar thinks a Klout rating has value, even if it is wrong.
Dominic Rushe of the Observer (UK) reports:
Sree Sreenivasan, digital media professor at Columbia University, believes social media today is where radio was in 1912 or television in 1950. "We are at the very beginning of understanding the nature of influence," he says. "What Klout has done – faster than anyone else – is put a number to that. It may not be the right number, but having a number at all is very useful."
Sreenivasan points to network theory – an area of computer science that has been used to map relationships in a variety of spheres. "Network theory tells us that if you find the nodes, you can do anything. Who are people really listening to? In an era of information overload you are going to find more and more value in individual voices." Klout is one of the first serious attempts at independently identifying whom we should listen to, he says.